Walk on the Wild Side; Joe McSorley
IIT is amazing to think that some of our oldest and best-loved trees such as 'Folly Oak' were saplings when Shakespeare wrote his plays. They are steeped in history and folklore and have seen the reign of 20 monarchs from Elizabeth I to Elizabeth II, two world wars, and the age of enlightenment.
They were already well-established by the time the Pilgrims left British shores for America on board the Mayflower.
Two of our favourite trees are featured in The Wildlife Trust's new guide Great places to see ancient and unusual trees.
Folly Oak is more than 400 years old, and is at the heart of the Trust's 250-acre Folly Farm nature reserve in the Chew Valley and next to its education and conference centre.
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The second tree featured is a field maple in Willsbridge Valley on the outskirts of Bristol which is thought to be between 300 and 400 years old.
As a shrub species field maples do not usually live this long so this one is a real veteran.
Trees that have lived for hundreds of years provide a unique and important habitat for a huge range of wildlife.
Thousands of species, including fungi and rare beetles, live in the fissures, cracks, hollows, cavities, dead wood and loose bark.
Many of the birds, insects and mammals that we can see today in our ancient woodlands are not found anywhere else.
It's easy to lose sight of just how rare and important these habitats are so by celebrating them we value them more.
For this reason, Wildlife Trusts across the UK work to protect these trees for wildlife and for future generations of people to know and enjoy.
Just one quick look through The Wildlife Trusts' Great places to see ancient and unusual trees will provide inspiration for a visit to a nature reserve.
And at this time of year you will be able to see carpets of snowdrops and primroses too, making way for bluebells in April.
Exploring local woodland is a wonderful way to shrug off some of the stresses and strains of modern life and enjoy quality 'me' or family time. We don't need scientific studies to know that being outside and exploring nature is good for adults and children alike.
If nothing else you can put your historic knowledge to the test, pondering over what the Folly Oak and other trees may or may not have witnessed during their lifetime!
Go to wildlifetrusts.org/ancienttrees for The Wildlife Trust's new guide Great places to see ancient and unusual trees.
Avon Wildlife Trust is the local wildlife charity, supported by 16,500 members.
Please go to avonwildlifetrust.org.uk for further information about nature reserves, walks and educational work plus ways to support the charity, including membership.
Avon Wildlife Trust's Reserves Officer Joe McSorley